NH Department of Health and Human Services Recognizes World TB Day

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recognizes World Tuberculosis Day, sponsored by the Stop TB Partnership, which aims to eliminate tuberculosis worldwide. World TB Day is held on March 24th, commemorating the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB.

“Many people may think of tuberculosis as a disease of our ancestors or a disease that is only seen in other countries, but unfortunately that is not the case,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “It is important for people to be aware of this disease, but to also know that it is treatable.”

Tuberculosis can attack any part of the body, not just the lungs. TB is most often spread when an infected person coughs and the bacteria become airborne. The theme for 2010 is “TB Elimination: Together We Can,” the aim of which is to eliminate TB from the world through partnerships.

There were 15 identified cases of TB in New Hampshire in 2009. In 2008, the United States reported that there were 12,904. In 2008, the U.S. also reported a rate of 4.2 cases per 100,000 population, the lowest rate since reporting began in 1953. However, despite this good news, the rate at which the number of cases in the U.S. is decreasing every year is slowing so there is concern that there is not enough progress being made.

For more information about TB, visit www.cdc.gov/tb, the NH Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov, the Stop TB Partnership at www.stoptb.org, or Breathe New Hampshire at www.breathenh.org.